Privacy Advocacy Groups Urge Facebook Withdraw Its Latest Policy

Has the privacy on Facebook gone for toss? The recent  Facebook policy changes which give access to the company to share users data with recently acquired photo-application instagram  has not  gone well with users. The policy also eliminates the user voting system and has restricted email within the social network.

Two privacy advocacy groups have urged the Facebook to withdraw the policy which saw the light on Wednesday

“Facebook’s proposed changes implicate the user privacy and terms of a recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission,” the groups said in a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zucerberg that was published on their websites on Monday.

By sharing information with Instagram, the letter said, Facebook could combine user profiles, ending its practice of keeping user information on the two services separate.

Facebook has still not commented  about it. This April Facebook came to terms with privacy charges with the U.S. Federal Trade commission that it had deceived consumers and forced them to share more personal information than they intended. The settlement clearly declared that Facebook is required to get user’s approval  before doing any privacy changes.

Both Google and Facebook has faced several inquiries regarding  the privacy regulation as consumers hand over mounting amounts of information about their personal lives to Web services.

The proposed changes by Facebook has received more than 7000  comments in just seven days.

The current terms of service automatically trigger a vote by users to approve the changes.  But the vote only works if 30 percent users give their approval.

Facebook also said last week that it wanted to eliminate a setting for users to control who can contact them on the social network’s email system. The company said it planned to replace the “Who can send you Facebook messages” setting with new filters for managing incoming messages.

“This may increase the threat of spam mails “ the privacy groups warned on Monday.

The change would let  Facebook to build unified profiles of its users that include people’s personal data from its social network and from Instagram,  which is similar to recent move by Google Inc.

In January, Google said it would combine users’ personal information from its various Web services – such as search, email and the Google+ social network – to provide a more customized experience. This raised privacy concerns.
“As our company grows, we acquire businesses that become a legal part of our organization,” Facebook spokesman AndrewBSE 0.00 % Noyes said in an emailed statement on Monday.

“Those companies sometimes operate as affiliates. We wanted to clarify that we will share information with our affiliates and vice versa, both to help improve our services and theirs, and to take advantage of storage efficiencies,” Noyes said.

 

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